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Students Send Cookies to Congress to Express Federal Debt Concern

March 13, 2013 – Georgetown student finalists in a nationwide competition to educate peers about the federal debt participated in a “Trillion Dollar Cookie Initiative,” baking and delivering more than 1,000 cookies in batches of 16 to symbolize the debt to their congressional representatives.

About 75 congressmen and women, including House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), received the oatmeal raisin cookies with letters late last month from students asking Congress to address the federal debt issue without compromising the social safety net.

“If this sounds desperate, that’s because it is – we need solutions,” says Warren Wilson (SFS’15). “This is an important issue that will affect our generation most.”

Up to Us

Up to Us  Georgetown's Up to Us student group, dedicated to educating the campus community about the effects of the federal debt, delivered over 1,000 oatmeal raisin cookies to their congressional representatives.

Wilson and Agree Ahmed (SFS’15), David Edgar (SFS’15), Oltan Akin (MSB’15) and Jayme Amman (SFS’15) are part of the core team representing Georgetown's Up to Us group, called Up to Hoyas.

The Up to Us campaign, sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative University and Net Impact, has students at universities and colleges across the country designing campaigns to educate students on the federal debt.

Net Impact is a nonprofit organization whose members use business skills to support various social causes. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation works to raise public awareness on U.S. fiscal matters. The Clinton Global Initiative University was created in 2007 by former President Bill Clinton (F’68) to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.

Clinton Global Initiative University

Georgetown is one of 10 finalists in the competition.

“The best way to have an impact on this issue is to bring in the demographics on campus that aren’t regularly engaged with … public policy,” says Ahmed, who leads group.

Chelsea Clinton, an NBC special correspondent who works with her father's Clinton Global Initiative, and ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, are among the judges for the competition.

The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize and recognition from Bill Clinton during the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University to take place April 5-7 in St. Louis.

The group plans to donate the winnings to charities of Georgetown students’ choosing.

“We figured that if the school that wins isn’t going to win because of the team, it’s going to be really more because the students chose to get involved and chose to sacrifice their time,” Ahmed says. “And so what better way of paying justice to that then allowing them to decide how the money gets spent.”

Remarkable Enthusiasm

The panel of judges also includes former co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Erskine Bowles and former U.S. senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo).

Other Georgetown Up to Us events included a federal budget case competition, for which students posed as congressional staffers and presented plans to tackle the federal debt with the interests of a particular Congress member’s constituency in mind.

“The organizers of the Up to Us campaign at Georgetown showed a remarkable level of enthusiasm and commitment in bringing together fellow students, faculty, and outside experts with knowledge of the economic and political issues surrounding long term fiscal policy,” said Billy Jack, associate professor of economics.

Jack and McDonough School of Business Deputy Dean Pietra Rivoli and Associate Professor of Economics Carol Ann Rogers, judged the federal budget case competition.

Caring for the Poor

The Georgetown Up to Us campaign also organized a panel discussion with Rev. Matthew Carnes, S.J., on the moral implications the federal budget sequestration would have on those in poverty.

“There’s been a very clear sense that society has a responsibility to care for its poorest and weakest members,” Carnes said during the Feb. 25 event. “… The state is supposed to guarantee basic social justice.”

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